"Who's that playing out there?" Bo Diddley asked the crowd on a sunny day in New Orleans, LA. Suddenly, four-year-old Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews was lifted into the air and over the crowd to perform onstage with the famous musician. This experience changed his life.
I read last week that ‘Trombone Shorty,’ Troy Andrews turned thirty-six on January 2nd. If you must ask "who are you talking about?" maybe you haven’t looked at one of my favorite Caldecott Honor (2016) and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winning picture books (also 2016), Trombone Shorty, written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier. This book is a joy to behold. Its large dimensions bring the reader up close to the action. The vibrant collage illustrations combined with realistic images are immersive. You can feel the joy with every page you turn. Trombone Shorty is an autobiography of Andrews’s youth, growing up in the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé: the story of young Troy Andrews shines.
Andrews started playing trombone at age four, began leading his own band at age eight, attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts during high school, and then joined Lenny Kravitz’s band for a brief period (tromboneshorty.com/about). He is an icon in New Orleans, using his own experiences to create The Trombone Shorty Foundation, whose mission is to “inspire local youth through music education, instruction, mentorship, and performance” (tromboneshortyfoundation.org).
Trombone Shorty at age 13, performing with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, 2000.
In the Children’s Room at Richland Library Main we have a vast selection of picture books, biographies, and nonfiction texts all about jazz and jazz musicians. Maybe your child finds the idea of reading a biography boring or daunting? Why not try a picture book biography? Condensed text, photographs, and illustrations may pique your child’s interest and help them branch out into other non-fiction texts. Just browsing the shelves, I found dozens of biographies, historic nonfiction, performing arts nonfiction, and picture books about jazz and jazz musicians from long ago and present day. Check out this list to get started. And remember you can always put books on hold and request recommendations online, or call the Children’s Room at (803) 929-3434 to put books on hold. Happy Reading!